How Russian Atrocities Will Alter the War

THE RUSSIAN MASSACRE OF UNARMED CITIZENS in Ukraine will alter the war in several ways, as chances of an imminent truce and a deal slip significantly.

ANALYSTS BELIEVE Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, clearly shaken by the carnage, is now far less inclined to negotiate — and much less likely to cede any of eastern Ukraine to the Russian butchers.

ZELENSKY IS DETERMINED to get more arms and more sanctions from the West, and there’s a very good chance that he will receive fresh support that could allow him to fight on for months to come. Ukrainians would reject any concessions to mass murderers; Zelensky’s popularity could erode if he even tried.

VLADIMIR PUTIN ALSO CAN HANG ON for months, even if his troops continue to suffer huge losses and his economy enters a deep Depression. He has public support in Russia and is willing to destroy much of Ukraine, as he did in murderous assaults in Syria and Chechnya.

NOW COMES A TEST: The Western world, largely unified, will not quickly forgive China, India and much of Middle East if they remain neutral. The biggest NATO issue is Germany’s addiction to Russian gas and oil, which has created a fissure within the alliance.

WE EXPECT MORE SANCTIONS AND ARMS SHIPMENTS within days. France, with a huge reliance on nuclear power, says it will back energy restrictions, but the prospect of higher gas and oil prices is not welcome as Emmanuel Macron faces a tightening election this month.

THE KEY IS THE BATTLEFIELD: Russian troops are retreating, in disarray and poorly supplied. Putin apparently is indifferent to their massive losses — perhaps over 40,000 killed or wounded, experts believe.

RUSSIAN PUBLIC OPINION, greatly influenced by state media lies, is a Putin asset for now, but at some point the enormity of Russian casualties will become apparent — and eventually Putin’s own generals may play a major role in ending this horrific war.

BOTTOM LINE: The nauseating videos of murdered civilians will have a major impact on global opinion; Russia’s claim of a hoax is pathetic. So the West will be sending more tanks, artillery, fighter aircraft, air defense systems, etc.

THE RUSSIANS CANNOT WIN on the ground, although their shelling and brutality can terrorize citizens. That has simply intensified the Ukrainian resolve and makes a truce unlikely any time soon. Why should Ukraine sue for peace? They’re winning the war, and once that becomes obvious in Moscow, Putin will be cornered.

A CORNERED PUTIN, facing a no-win guerrilla war, will be even less predictable and more murderous; at some point the push-back will come from his generals, the Russian public, the oligarchs, China, India, etc. Unfortunately, that push-back does not appear to be imminent, which means grain and fuel shortages — and very volatile markets — could persist for many more months.

Related: Russia’s Missiles Aren’t Working; The Putin Succession Plan

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